Home Beauty News 6 Ways to Glowing Winter Skin, From Saison’s Julie Kim

The founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Saison Beauty shows us how to work with the seasons to keep skin healthy and glowing.

Images courtesy of Saison Beauty


For most of us, the challenge of the day-to-day swing is finally setting in. We’re back to work, trudging through the wind, rain or snow, and it’s official: winter has arrived. During these cozy months, the harsh outdoor elements – along with dry indoor environment – can wreak havoc on your skin. The new year is an ideal time to reevaluate your skincare routine to make those personal investments in healthy habits.

We sat with Saison Beauty Founder and CEO, Julie Kim, at her San Francisco studio for her expertise on the subject. The natural beauty guru, who  created Saison based on the changing of seasons (“saison” means season in French), has created the line through years of research on the seasonal needs of our bodies. A former e-commerce executive at The Gap, Kim is no stranger to beauty behind the scenes. Before launching Saison, the self professed “beauty junkie” had worked in PR for several beauty companies, including  Aveda, The Body Shop and ShuUmera.

When she realized that beauty was her true passion, she launched Saison in early 2015. Each collection is specially formulated for the season and skin type,  to nourish your skin throughout the changing months.  Says Kim, “I wanted to provide an easy, go-to concept that’s a ‘no-brainer’.” Inspired by the multi-step regimen found in Korean skincare, each of Saison’s collections are multi-step, with products that range from cleansers, cleansing grains, lotion sprays, moisturizers. Each season also contains a body regimen. Products are sumptuous, all-natural, cruelty-free and made in small batches in San Francisco.

Kim believes that seasonal thinking should become intuitive to consumers. “For those who eat seasonally and really pay attention to what nature is presenting to you, it has an uncanny way of telling you what your body needs.  It also applies to skincare,” she explains. “Throughout the country, where you have such drastic climate changes, your skin changes and your skin really needs different care.”


Here, Julie Kim shares her 6 tips for beautifying your skin, winter-style.

During the winter, skin tries to adapt to the extreme weather and temperature conditions like cold air, wind and indoor heaters. When it’s not able to cope, skin will begin drying, chapping, flaking and getting irritated. Your skin also thickens with a build up of old dead, pigmented skin cells to create its own protective barrier, so it looks dull and rough. And since it’s difficult to maintain moisture levels and skin elasticity in the winter, this is the time when signs of aging – like wrinkles, sagging and hyper pigmentation – may appear more pronounced. And finally, your stress levels may be higher than normal, and your diet may consist of more rich, comfort food or holiday sweets than it’s used to. As a result, you may also be experiencing more skin inflammation (acne, rosacea, eczema, etc.).

To help you through some of these winter skin conditions, here are some tips to help you keep your skin soft, healthy and looking its best.

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  1. Change Your Cleanser

Look for cleansers that are “foam-free,” like the Saison Winter Cleansing Oil.  When a cleanser foams, it usually contains harsh sulfates or other detergents that strip your skin from its natural oils. And if you are over-cleansing this time of year, you may compromise the natural protective barrier on your skin that helps you retain moisture and protect it from chapping, dryness, flaking, and more.

 2.  Stimulate and Circulate

Incorporate fresh, stimulating ingredients* like mint, ginger or cinnamon to your current products and massage into your face for 3-5 minutes. This will help increase the blood flow, and deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your face. These ingredients, and massaging your skin, will not only help bring color to the face, but it helps strengthen the facial muscles to lift and tighten sagging skin.

Pro tip: Mix one of the fresh ingredients with the Saison Winter Cleansing Oil, and apply to your face and neck before you step into the shower or warm bath.  Let the steam open up your pores, allowing your skin to absorb more of the infused oil and soften your skin in the process. Massage the oil into your face for a few minutes. After you finish your shower or bath, rinse and wipe off the excess oil. Your skin will be clean, super soft, dewy and bright.

*if you have sensitive skin, you should conduct a patch test with these ingredients, and stop use if your skin becomes irritated.

3.   Exfoliate

Exfoliate skin regularly – approximately 3-4 times a week – to help remove dead skin cells and bring new skin cells to the surface. This will not only make your skin look fresh and bright, but more importantly, this will allow your treatments to sink into your skin more efficiently. However, avoid chemical exfoliates (e.g. glycolic acid, synthetic alpha hydroxy acid), which can irritate your skin, especially when it is dry and exposed to cold air. Look for exfoliates from more natural sources including milk (lactic acid) or fruit-based enzymes.

Pro tip: The Saison Winter Cleansing Grains includes organic milk powder, organic rice powder, organic pineapple, organic pomegranate and honey grains that work together to gently exfoliate, soften and brighten your skin.


4.  Repair and Regenerate:

Look for treatment products that are rich in antioxidants and include key vitamins like Vitamin C and E to help your skin repair itself from inflammation or any other damage. Products rich in Vitamin C can help brighten your skin and increase collagen production. Ingredients like Meadowfoam or nut-based oils that are rich in Vitamin E will help your skin lock in moisture and help calm any skin inflammation. Specialty moisturizers like the Saison Winter Moisturizer or Saison Winter Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer includes ingredients like L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Pomegranate Oil, Rosehip Oil, Meadowfoam Oil, Wheat Germ Oil and Vitamin E to help skin this time of year. Alternatively, look for other specialty serums or face oils to boost your current moisturizer’s performance.

5.  Layer Your Products:

After cleansing and exfoliating your skin, you want to infuse as many nutrients and moisture back into your skin, and slowly build up a protective layer to keep the winter elements from damaging your skin. Like you would layer your clothes, start from the lightest to heaviest formulas. This creates a “slow drip” effect that allows the skin to absorb the products effectively and to and keep it hydrated longer. For example, start with a liquid-based treatments like the Saison Winter Botanical Lotion Spray. Next, use a gel-based serum, then a moisturizer and finish off with a face oil.

6.  Bonus Tip – Stay Hydrated:
During the summer, it’s much easier to stay hydrated – drinking cold water or eating more fruits and vegetables with high water content. However, it’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter. In fact, it’s the perfect time to try some flavored hot water that helps keep you warm AND hydrated throughout the day. Some of our favorites include:

1 cup hot water + 1 tbsp. lemon juice + ¼ tsp honey


1 cup hot water + ¼ tsp fresh ginger + ⅛ tsp cinnamon


1 cup hot water + ¼ cup fresh mint leaves + 2 tsp lime juice + ¼ tsp honey


1 cup hot water + ⅛ tsp freshly grated orange peel + 1 tbsp orange juice + ⅛ tsp cinnamon + 2 cloves + ¼ tsp honey